I began writing Constable Outreach 35 as a project. In my aging years, many have told me that I must be involved with something. Something to occupy my mind and time. That something aids in taking away the self-centered, sympathy-seeking thoughts which can build with onset of age.
As the project grew, characters came to mind who needed exploration. There were many. Too many to be placed in one story. Some were deleted because they didn’t enhance this storyline.
Placing the story in a period of which I was familiar, put the story in 1985.
There is much more I can write about each facet. I may do that in coming blog postings.
But, in this post I’d like to talk about the year in which the story was set. The time-frame for story placement – and, why it was selected. I’ll try to keep the word count in the post to seven hundred. If I go over, the next post will pick up where I left off.
First, 1985 was a year in which I found myself in the Air Force Reserve, as an associate airman augmenting active duty units based in Charleston AFB, SC. It was a part of my life in which I served a cause greater than myself. The work was very satisfying. It still generates memories of people, places and objects that carried we humans far and wide on the earth – the airplane.
I had visited Central and South America many times in my flying career. Memorable places and incidents came to mind as I planned the writing.
The basis for the story came to me as a memory of an incident in which a cargo-handler became a captive during an undeclared war in Central America. I would never try to tell his story. I couldn’t. I was not there.
But, the history intrigued me so much that it circled in my head. That downed airman could have been one of many I knew. One man whose experience changed the trajectory of his remaining years. I developed empathy for him. Even though he never sought it.
That brought me to a timeline – which could not be the same year of his incident or subsequent acts that would be followed by the news media. Thus, I chose 1985 as the envelope within which the story would take place.
Next was a review of the original story idea. (By the way, it morphed many times in order to build a ninety-five-thousand-word book.)
There are millions of ways to tell a story. But, in each way it must fit the conventions of story telling. Shawn Coyne broke that down in his book Story Grid. I have read it. I re-read sections as a refresher. I recommend it to any prospective story-teller. (I am digressing – adding too much at this point.)
I asked questions of myself. Questioning as though I was the other person in the room:
- When does all this take place?
- What was the season?
- How many days are you going to write about?
- Is it a six-month period or shorter?
- And, many more – dizzying – queries….
From those questions, I built a timeline of thirty days. Again, it morphed and was modified in order to tell the story.
By now, I have realized that this post will have to be continued. Hope you’ll stay with me.
Here is a historical overview and Contra War timeline finishing out this first segment:
- 1979 – Arbitrary date designated as beginning of Central American Civil Wars; President Carter was in office;
- 1980 – President Reagan was elected to the Office of President of The United States; Contrarevolucion forces begin forming along the Honduran-Nicaraguan Border; El Salvador and Guatemala were in civil wars of their own;
- 1981 – President Reagan takes office; Covert operations are authorized; CIA, Military Assistance and civilian oriented groups are deployed; US troops are introduced into the conflict;
- 1982 – Contra forces carry out assassinations of Nicaraguan Government members;
- 1983 – Contras mine Nicaraguan harbors. In a non-related, Global Ideological battle the United States invades Grenada to rescue medical students on October 25th. Ideological foes of the US continue to export violence and their Socio-Communistic doctrine into Central America;
- 1984 – Nicaraguan General Election – Daniel Ortega wins, becoming President;
- 1985 – (Fictional Constable Outreach 35 Story takes place;)
- 1986 – Corporate Air Services C-123 (N4410F) was shot down by SA-7 Grail missile; Cargo-Handler Eugene Hasenfus was captured as sole-surviving aircrew member;
- 1987-1989 – Civil wars continue with new emphasis….
- 1990 – Arbitrary year during which Central American Wars ended….
We have reached a word count over seven-hundred. As mentioned at the beginning of the post, I’ll be back with a continuation on this blogging theme.